Review: Prime Cuts, V2

Published July 9, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Prime-Cuts-Vol-2-620

Even if I could go home again…I wouldn’t want to. Although, expanding the population there from 600 to 601 might be quite the achievement.

Thankfully, for gore loving comic adventurers, the young and handsome Todd does return to Pure Springs, the place of his birth, after years of being locked away in a cosmetology prison, in Prime Cuts, a delightfully eccentric graphic event. Settling in behind a pizzeria filled with low life hoods and electric degenerates, Todd is determined to revenge himself and his family, a la Sweeney Todd. With an accidental murder setting the final tone for the first volume, the recently released second installment gives a bit more background to Electra, Todd’s calculating partner in crime, and proves, beyond a doubt, that gastronomy can truly be orgasmic.Prime-Cuts-Vol-2-02 2

Scripted with wicked verve and a true sense of fun by John Franklin and Tim Sulka, this arc finds Electra and Todd grinding up his first victim while dealing with a sexually ambiguous food inspector and the erotic eccentricities of Pure Springs’ motley residents. Of course, victim number one soon finds his way onto the pizzas as a very special topping and, in the story’s most satisfying comical sequence, sends everyone into a throes of unexpected pleasure. Such detailed outrageousness makes for a world that would have fit, perfectly, on the screens of New York City’s legendary grindhouse theaters and allows one to almost feel the denizens of the Bowery breathing on your skin.

Thankfully, artist Stan Maksun perfectly captures this world with a lean, punk energy. His artwork feels like graffiti warfare and he even throws in a fun nod to the film career of Franklin, a successful actor who embodied Cousin Itt in the early ‘90s The Addams Family films, but is probably best known for his legendarily chilling work as Isaac in the Children of the Corn series.

Prime Cuts (vol. 1 & 2) is available for sale in print and download at www.IndyPlanet.com. For a free download of Volume 1, visit www.primecutsnovel.com.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: I Love Lucy

Published July 7, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

I Love Lucy

If only…I had known about that paternal lycanthrope curse. Those full moons in my thirties might have been a lot easier.

Likewise, writer-director-editor Zach Lorkiewicz explores some mysterious traits and hidden personalities, but within high school culture, with his latest, colorful short I Love Lucy. Here, beautiful Lucy (an ethereal Danielle Lauder) is nervously looking forward to her prom date, and all that may follow, with the cherub cute Rex (a spot-on, charming Jacob Kogan). Encouraged by her friends and a couple of ominously over interested school officials, Lucy’s preparations for her special night may be bit more bloody and freakishly revealing than anyone could possibly anticipate, though.

Combining the sunny world of teen comedies with science fiction and horror overtones, Lorkiewicz creates a fuzzily unique universe here. Aided immeasurably by Tracy Rosenblum’s special effects work and the sonic backgrounds created by Alison Ho and Catherine Yang, I Love Lucy is truly an intriguing and artistically superior work. Its ending may be open to interpretation, but anyone who has experienced the cold hard truth that everyone around them is virtually unknowable with find much to chew over here.

You can watch the short, in full, at:

 

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: Sal Mineo

Published July 4, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Who Killed Teddy 3

Its 2016 and there are still inherent risks to being a member of the LGBT community. Thus, it is even more admirable to look back at the openness of Sal Mineo, an Academy nominated performer and former teen heartthrob, who brought a sense of sensitivity and despair to the psycho killer genre in 1965’s gritty, underappreciated thriller Who Killed Teddy Bear?

According to many reports, Mineo, who was murdered in 1976 during a robbery attempt, never hid his attraction for men and this may have hurt his latter day career choices. Of course, director Nicholas Ray famously capitalized on Mineo’s budding sexuality in Rebel Without A Cause. As Plato, his most famous role, Mineo’s attraction for James Dean’s Jim Stark was touchingly apparent. Proof of this is definitely contained in this loving video homage which highlights Mineo, who scored several hit singles as a teen, and his take on the song Young As We Are.

 

Of course, others may appreciate Mineo’s more garage-y sound on Little Pigeon, a number that is sure to put certain readers in mind of his theater career, which included a couple of takes on the prison drama Fortune and Men’s Eyes.

 

 

Meanwhile, Mineo’s most ardent fans keep the love flowing for him at www.salmineo.com, a beautiful website dedicated to this renaissance man and his career.

who killed teddy bear poster

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Review: Killer Piñata

Published July 2, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

KP4

Upon entering Scott Sholder’s 6th birthday party, I encountered Marty, his handsome, shirtless father. The flushed tingles that radiated throughout my body indicated that my life would never be the same. Similarly, Lindsey in the very fun Killer Piñata discovers her existence forever, and bloodily, altered after her younger brother’s natal day celebration. One of the left over piñatas is soon wrecking giggling, skittering carnage upon her and her friends and, to no seasoned viewer’s surprise, the survivors are few in number!

KP1Besides the gloriously ridiculous premise, what is most impressive about this independent terror treat is the strong females at its core. Lindsey (a quietly intense Eliza Morris) is just beginning to deal with her sexual identity issues and her struggles to come to grips with her lesbianism are echoed in her resolve and determination to fight for her life. This is a nice contrast to other Sapphic terror teens – i.e. supermodels that are often hired to lip locks in order to aggravate male pulses – in similar products. Even Rosetta (an exuberant Lindsey Ashcroft), the stereotypical flirty best friend, is presented as a determined sexual adventurer who turns the tables on the aggressive yet charming Chad (a smoothly egocentric Nate Bryan). There is even a surprising twist involving Lindsey’s take charge mother (the point blank Sheila Edmiston). Perhaps even more significantly, the Dr. Loomis quotient is filled by Joette Waters’ strong and determined The Shopkeeper, who relates the piñata’s anguished back story with spitfire and subtle comic zeal.KP3

Of course, director Stephen Tramontana, who co-wrote the script with Megan Macmanus, delivers on the piece’s expected ludicrousness. The effects are often simple, but Lindsay’s ever devoted ex-boyfriend Scott (the appropriately confused Billy Chengary) is the focus of one of the film’s most ambitious and re-DICK-u-lous set pieces. This moment, alone, is sure to have audiences laughing and squirming at the same time.

Filmed in 8 days, in and out of Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, Killer Piñata is, ultimately, a truly professional looking product and evidence of what can be done with a small budget and limited resources when passion and skill are involved. It is obvious that everyone, from the cast members to the crew, was taken in by this project’s quirky charms. Granted, the pacing flags a bit in some of the dialogue heavy sections and one or two of the gag bits don’t connect. But, overall, this is an incredibly impressive venture and one looks forward to future cinematic concoctions, in particular those focusing on strong female action types, from Angry Mule Productions.

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Killer Piñata is available for purchase on Amazon – tinyurl.com/zl83j8m.

www.facebook.com/KillerPinataMovie

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Review: Sacrament: The Film

Published June 25, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

sacrament

One of my biggest dreams as a horror fan is to have a homosexual character at the center of one of those seemingly endless Friday the 13th reboots. But until some major studio comes to its senses – not likely, I suppose – I am grateful that the world has writer-director Shawn Ewert’s (very independent) Sacrament: The Film. This fun backwoods horror epic is particularly impactful due to its focus on Lee (Trey Ford) and Blake (Avery Pfeiffer), a young gay couple, and its look at the poisonous after effects of the violence caused by those belonging to the religious right.

Taking off on a traditional road trip, Lee and Blake and their friends soon find themselves sequestered in a small town for the night. Unfortunately for them, this burg’s residents believe in punishing any that they view as transgressors and, eventually, turning them into food for their ravenously faithful flock. Borrowing heavily from genre favorites like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and more obscure flicks like Terror at Red Wolf Inn, Ewert still makes his mark here by focusing on the hypocrisy and anger of those who, supposedly, live a kind and sacred life. This is, obviously, a timely notion as we live in a climate where bathroom laws and hate bills are being promoted with maniacal zeal.marilyn burns sacrament

Nicely, Ewert, as a director, supplies multiple levels, though. It is almost possible to sympathize with the quiet town folk who are bombarded with the obnoxious activities of the film’s central youths – at first. He also pays homage to his influences by casting TTCM mainstays Marilyn Burns and Ed Guinn in smaller yet pertinent roles. Burns, in particular, brings a quiet yet seething intensity to her activities here, making her untimely passing in 2014 feel all the more tragic.

Meanwhile, the rest of the cast also handles itself deftly, a rarity in low budget projects, with Ford’s level headed Lee, Amanda Rebholz’s sensitive and playful Lorri and Joshua Cole Simmons’ understandingly frantic Brahm deserving special notice. Nicely, Ford and Pfeiffer gamely offer up their flesh to the masses as well, counterbalancing the preponderance of female nudity in projects such as this. Unfortunately, this still feels like a social or political act in a genre where bare femininity is the norm and the playing field is rarely leveled.Sacrament 2

Granted, there are minor disappointments here. Ewert builds a complex narrative. Thus, his ending could have benefited from some more high stakes escape techniques. It feels a bit abrupt after all that has come before. But, overall, this is a truly solid, admirable – and important effort. Sacrament: The Film offers up all the savage thrills of the tried and true slasher genre while also staking a claim as a statement against bigotry and hate. Bravo!

Sacrament: The Film is now available on iTunes, Amazon and Vudu.

https://www.facebook.com/SacramentFilm

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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On Judy Garland

Published June 24, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

THE WIZARD OF OZ, Judy Garland

Honestly, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Judy Garland.

As a kid, I totally adored her. In fact, as a very theatrical kindergartener, I even decided that we’d marry, one day, and do countless summer stock productions and films together. If I recall correctly, I announced this, with gusto and determination, at a family dinner one Sunday. The shock I felt upon being told of her death had me reeling, from room to room, asking various relatives, over and over again, if this life altering news was really true. Sadly, they all confirmed it was.

As a teen, though, I eventually discovered the grittier charms of artists like Marianne Faithfull and Nico and Ronnie Spector– whose lifestyles, coincidentally, echoed some of the more addictive excesses of Garland’s -and soon began to find her go-for-broke performing style a bit too forceful and bombastic for the ever expanding subtlety in my tastes. The fact that she was a gay icon also didn’t sit well with me. There is no self-hate like the self-hate of a gay man and I was determined not to fall into the trap of being some skinny, over-effeminate lover of the traditional female diva. As I grew older, I did, begrudgingly, begin to appreciate the older Garland’s more subtle, raspy take on poignant Noel Coward numbers and the like, but I have never been able to regain my early fascination and devout appreciation for her as a performer. But, on this week, which marks the 47th year since her passing, I feel I must pay her homage and grateful thanks.

The-Wizard-Of-Oz-1939-216593You see, my love for horror began with Garland. For many, her iconic portrayal of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz meant a world of hopeful fantasy and countless concert renditions of Over the Rainbow – a song I simply cannot stand, by the way. But, she introduced the four year old me to a world of evil witches and terrifying flying monkeys. She transported me to an environment far beyond the commonplace dangers I witnessed in my small town – brawling factory workers, drunken farmers, angry parents – and gave me something far more exotic. I knew the characters that she faced as Dorothy Gale were scary, but they were colorful and…imaginary. And…they were survivable.

For years now, I’ve credited Garland’s Dorothy Gale with being my first final girl, but only now, upon hitting another anniversary of Stonewall and still spinning from the fallout of Orlando, do I feel the true, magnificent significance of that. As a young man, Garland opened me up to the worlds of Laurie Strode and Chris Higgins and Sally Hardesty and so many other gruesomely fun cinematic creations. This bountiful gesture is still paying off to this day. Every time I discover some rare slasher on a dusty VHS tape in a thrift store and meet another previously hereto unknown terror actress to adore, I have her to thank. When I bond in restaurants with strangers over our various obscure horror film t-shirts, she is at the heart of it. When I gather with sleep worn friends for B-Movie Marathons and we become family because of it, her essence is somewhere in that room.

Many years ago, her death inspired a group of courageous drag queens to stand up for the rights of the LGBT community in an incredibly inspiring and visible way. But, her life – at least her performing life – inspired me to my own rebellion. Every time my parents grumbled over me reading another horror novel or purchasing the latest issue of Fangoria, I was standing my ground, for the first time, for something I loved. Something that was sparked in me by watching her perky, pig tail sporting adventuress, all those years ago, and, from this moment on, I will never downplay the significance of that starting point.

So, viva, la Garland! May you rest in peace upon every laurel that is, deservedly, thrown your way!

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan –

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Music to Make Horror Movies By: David Soul and Lynne Marta

Published June 19, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

david salem

Holy spooky friend outside your window! David Soul helped deliver the scares to generations with his leading role in the 1979 television version of Stephen King’s Salems Lot. Thankfully, Soul also knew that exactly what it took to calm a fright, as well – a big steaming pot of black bean soup!

This silly ditty, co-written by Soul, was featured as the B-Side of his hit single Don’t Give Up On Us Baby and was featured, prominently, on his successful self-titled solo album. Meanwhile, eagle eyed terror fiends will be pleased to note that beautiful television regular Lynne Marta is Soul’s duet partner here. Marta, Soul’s real life paramour at the time, starred in the rarely seen shocker Help Me…I’m Possessed. But, she is probably best known as pretty songbird Jo, whose would-be rapist is castrated by the strange creature haunting the sands in the 1981 drive-in classic Blood Beach.

lynne blood beach

So, until it’s safe to go into the sound studio again…SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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